Orange County Mayor: Firefighters Who Skip Vaccine Mandate Will Not Face Termination

Orange County, Florida Firefighters
News 6

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D) this week clarified that firefighters who do not comply with the county’s vaccine mandate will not face termination — a move some view as a domino effect after a judge granted a temporary injunction against the City of Gainesville’s vaccine mandate on Wednesday, serving as a win for the DeSantis administration.

“This week, there were discussions with the International Association of Firefighters regarding the vaccine mandate. This is where we stand at this point, the mayor, husband of Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), said.

“We are offering a cap on the disciplinary actions for those who choose not to comply with the mandate. I want to be clear here, it was never my intention to terminate anyone from our employment,” he clarified.

“My desire and goal was to increase the rate of vaccinations amongst our employees and we have accomplished that,” the Democrat continued.

Instead, firefighters who refuse to comply will receive a written reprimand, but nothing beyond that.

Orange County firefighter Maria Bernard is among those who spoke at Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) press conference in Newberry last week, blasting vaccine mandates.

As Breitbart News reported:

Bernard, an Orange County firefighter for 17 years, said she and her husband, who is also a firefighter, learned about the Orange County vaccination mandate on July 28, which extends to 8,000 -plus union and nonunion employees. The current deadline for compliance is September 30, or they face termination.

“There were so many unanswered questions. The biggest question is why. Why is our freedom to choose what we do with our body no longer a human right?” she asked, noting that she and her husband spent “weeks” thinking about this issue.

“If this mandate continues, not only will we lose our freedom of choice, but we will lose our jobs and our livelihood,” she said, explaining that both she and her spouse have been productive members of society since they were teenagers, and they want to remain so.

“If the reasoning behind this mandate is to help employees and protect employees, then why are we being forced into a fate that would be far worse than contracting and recovering from COVID?” she asked.


Governor Ron DeSantis / Facebook

The news follows Wednesday’s victory for county employees of Gainesville and the DeSantis administration after a judge granted a temporary injunction against the city’s vaccine mandate.

As Breitbart News reported:

A lawsuit, on behalf of roughly 200 city employees, was subsequently filed by the city on August 26. On September 13, during Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) Newberry press conference centered around the illegality of vaccine mandates, the governor revealed Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) filed an amicus brief with the court, supporting the city employees challenging the intrusive mandate.


“The strongest argument we have is the Florida constitution’s strong right to privacy, which includes a right to complete bodily autonomy and a right to refuse unwanted medical procedures, so that the city of Gainesville cannot treat its employees’ bodies like property,” Jeff Childers, the lead attorney for the city’s employees, said, according to AUSF.

 As a likely result of the ruling, the Gainesville City Commission voted 6-1 to reconsider the city’s vaccine mandate.


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